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December 6, 2023

Charles Froeb of San Francisco Yacht Club and Matthieu Marfaing Are 2023 F18 North American Champions

Is it ever too late to announce Bay Area sailing champions? Way back at the end of September, we received news that San Francisco Yacht Club F18 racer Charles Froeb and crew Matthieu Marfaing had won the F18 North American Championships in Burlington, Ontario. The beach-cat world was practically invented in California with Hobie Alter’s Hobie 14 and 16, and small catamaran racing remains popular with a smaller but very dedicated group of catamaran sailors.

F 18 North Americans
The winning form of the Froeb-Marfaing team.
© 2023 F 18 Class

As Charles told us, “I wish there were more F18s active on the Bay. We’ve got a few, but not enough to get 10 at regattas, as we did 10 years ago.” The good news for West Coast F18 sailors is that the North American Championships regatta is coming to Richmond in 2024. So West Coast F18 sailors will be able to challenge the 2023 winning team in their home waters on San Francisco Bay.

Charles Froeb F 18 North Americans
There were ideal conditions on Lake Ontario for the F18 North American Championships.
© 2023 F 18 Class

This year’s racing on Lake Ontario featured 43 competitors, with 23 from Canada, 18 from the USA and two from Chile. The regatta consisted of 15 races over four days, with Froeb and Marfaing in second place behind the Chilean team going into the fourth and final day of racing. A dominating last day with finishes of 1-1-2-2 put them back in first for the top podium finish. The Chilean team of Pablo Gallyas and Isidora Urrutia ended up in second place, and they were also awarded first in the mixed teams.

Charles Froeb Matthieu Marfaing F 18 North Americans
Charles Froeb and Matthieu Marfaing holding up the San Francisco Yacht Club burgee and the F18 North American Championships Trophies.
© 2023 F 18 Class

The F18 is a competitive fleet, with boats coming from all over the Americas. Last year’s Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Ravi Parent earned his Rolex by finishing first in the 2022 F18 Worlds, as well as winning the A-Class Catamaran Worlds. Ravi Parent was also the 2021 F18 North American champion with crew Nick Lovisa.

Charles is looking forward to seeing Ravi competing on the Bay at the Richmond Yacht Club from September 25-28, 2024. If you’re looking to race locally in a strong fleet of high-performance catamarans in 2024, this sounds like a good event to join.

We feel it’s better late than never to recognize these local champions and are happy to see the F18 NA’s in the 2024 YRA Calendar, coming out with our January issue on December 29.

You can see the full results here.

Good Jibes #119: Johnny Sampson on the Catalina Museum for Art & History

This week’s host, Ryan Foland, is joined, in person, by Johnny Sampson to talk about preserving Catalina Island’s history through sharing stories. Johnny is the deputy director and chief curator at the Catalina Museum for Art & History, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary. Hear what are the top three artifacts on display in the “70 Objects for 70 Years” exhibit, why it helps to experience history in addition to reading about it, how to make the most of your visit to the Catalina Museum, how Johnny fell in love with art and museums, and plenty of Good Jibes firsts.

Code word: GINGER? Learn more at 24:16 minutes
© 2023 Johnny Sampson

This episode covers everything from Catalina Island to fishing. Here’s a small sample of what you will hear:

  • What does B.O.A.T. stand for?
  • Why does Johnny love history museums?
  • Did he create art as a kid?
  • How much does it cost to visit the Catalina Museum for Art & History?
  • What are Johnny’s top three artifacts from the “70 Objects for 70 Years” exhibit?
  • How did he and Ryan connect in the first place?
  • What is the Blue Water Cruising Club?
  • Short Tacks: How much did William Wrigley Jr. pay to buy Catalina Island?

Learn more at

Listen to the episode on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and your other favorite podcast spots — follow and leave a 5-star review if you’re feeling the Good Jibes!

Sailor (and Powerboater) Greg Goddard Picks Up Golden Prize

Greg Goddard from San Francisco scored some new Latitude 38 swag when he picked up his October issue of the magazine at S.F.’s Bay View Boat Club, where he’s a member. And although Greg is currently running a Shamrock 246 powerboat, he has a good sailing pedigree, which he shared with us recently.

Greg’s boat ownership journey started with small outboard powerboats, which gave him basic seamanship skills. He then changed tack and learned about wind-powered boats.

“I bought a Cox 22 wooden lapstrake sailboat in 1970, and spent a year repairing it, and learning the basics of sailing with a friend. I basically learned sailing by doing. I sailed the Bay and as far as the Delta until the early 1980s,” Greg wrote.

man on boat
Greg often sailed with his dad, pictured above, aboard the Cox 22 lapstrake in the late 1970s.
© 2023 Greg Goddard

“I love being on the water, the wind, sea, beautiful views, and different experiences you encounter each and every time,” Greg adds.

But as all sailors know, it’s not always smooth sailing.

“I was on an overnight fishing trip on my friend’s Westsail 32, 85 miles out of the Golden Gate fishing for albacore, and it was blowing 20+ knots with 10-foot seas. I was at the tiller, my two companions down below sleeping. A large wave hit the side of the boat, completely filling the cockpit, and gently lifting me out of the boat. Somehow I was able to hold on to the tiller and not get washed overboard. Now I would never do that without being tied in.”

Despite this experience Greg still says he loves the water and the ocean. “Every trip is an adventure, and you never know what you will see.”

Greg Goddard's Shamrock 246
Greg berths his Shamrock 246 at S.F. Marina.
© 2023 Greg Goddard

You can pick up the Latitude 38 December issue from your favorite or nearest outlet. Check out the map to see where they all are. Or subscribe, and you’ll never have to go out to find one again!

The America’s Cup World’s “Away” Series

The NEOM America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) paid a visit to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The event itself was raced in AC 40s as opposed to the full-sized Cup Class monohull “foilers” that will used for the America’s Cup selection series and the Match final, which will be sponsored once again by Louis Vuitton.

America's Cup Jeddah
The sun sets over the Red Sea and the America’s Cup Event’s attempt to “sportswash” its sport.
© 2023 Ian Roman/37th America’s Cup

Ultimately this event will have little or no effect on what happens in the actual America’s Cup next year in Barcelona, Spain.

What was of consequence was that the ACWS was even there to begin with, given the human rights concerns with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi of the Washington Post in 2018 still resonates deeply in the West, specifically with many of us who are concerned with the eroding rights of freedom of the press, violence against journalists and the advent in popular culture of “fake news.”

This should be a sailing story and about the America’s Cup, but “sportswashing” is attempting to erase not only the Saudi kingdom’s brutal treatment of political adversaries of the ruling family, but also the treatment of women in their society, which has drawn condemnation from around the world.

Saudi Arabia is moving toward the kingdom’s “Vision 2030” and is aiming to create economic growth while promoting culture, entertainment and sport, and has thrown billions of dollars at multiple sporting events from the LIV Golf Tournament to FIFA’s World Cup, plus Formula One, in a brazen attempt to lure the world into a false sense of complacency and “amnesia” as to what truly happens behind the closed doors of their country.

What is truly frightening is that the ETNZ and America’s Cup Event CEO and “chief decision maker” Grant Dalton is completely infatuated by the lure of Saudi dollars, and it is almost a foregone conclusion that the 38th America’s Cup will land in Jeddah if the New Zealand team defends the Auld Mug in October next year.

Event sponsor NEOM is a project that is set to transform the Red Sea coast of Northwest Saudi Arabia into a futuristic city, unlike any other, that was launched in 2017 by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and will be powered by 100% renewable energy.

Jeddeh Saudi Arabia
The Port of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on the Red Sea. Is all that “glimmers” gold?
© 2023 Ian Roman/37th America’s Cup

The New York Yacht Club’s American Magic team had taken a strong stand back in May this year when the event in Saudi Arabia was first announced, but then was rebuffed by the America’s Cup Arbitration Panel, which referred the matter back to the Challenger of Record (CoR) INEOS Brittania and the Royal Yacht Squadron, who seem as smitten by the prospect of the influence of Saudi billions into the sport as everyone else.

The American Magic team did show up, almost unannounced, portending a fait accompli, and at the start of the first race I wasn’t sure if they were competing or not, as they inexplicably sailed off the racecourse as skipper Tom Slingsby later described it as, “A really tough day. I don’t think I’ve had a day like that before. I don’t know what to say; we’re frustrated, embarrassed, it’s not good enough and we need to do a better job. We know we can sail better than that.”

As far as results on the water were concerned the Kiwis dominated the weekend, which comes as no surprise. The Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli team put “youth” in the driver’s seat, and they sailed remarkably well until they “submarined” their AC40 in a valiant attempt to emulate Moses and part the Red Sea, which ended their hopes.

Emirates Team New Zealand won in Jeddah
December 02, 2023. America’s Cup Preliminary Regatta. Yes, Emirates Team New Zealand “won” the NEOM ACWS event in Jeddah. But does it really matter?
© 2023 Ian Roman/37th America’s Cup

After a disastrous opening day, American Magic clawed their way back to a respectable fourth place in the regatta.

“Winning hides a lot of things, and losing unfolds some of that. We will take a good, hard look at ourselves and understand what that means,” said Terry Hutchinson, American Magic’s president of sailing operations. “It’s going to be a deeper dive with the entire sailing team to hear the helmsmen’s and the trimmer’s perspectives on why we raced well and why we didn’t race well.”

NYYC American Magic
Will they or won’t they? They did, but given results, maybe American Magic should have stayed home.
© 2023 Ian Roman/37th America’s Cup

But again, there are larger issues at play here that cannot be ignored. There was a great deal of respect that the NYYC earned when attempting to boycott this event for not only safety concerns, but also hopefully drawing a spotlight on Saudi Arabia’s dreadful human rights record.

As the event unfolded the NYYC offered the following statement from Commodore Paul M. Zabetakis, MD: “Whether to participate in the AC40 event in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, is and was a team decision. The Club stands 100 percent behind its decision, and our membership is excited to cheer on the team this weekend as it aims for a second straight win.”

“We have been working closely with the US government, the Saudi Ministry of Sports, the Saudi Sailing Federation, and the America’s Cup over recent months. We are grateful for their support in hosting this America’s Cup Preliminary Regatta,” said Mike Cazer, NYYC American Magic chief executive officer. “Racing in Jeddah will be a historic occasion, and we hope that the team’s participation can contribute to the development, promotion, and inspiration of sailing in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

Two prominent members of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS), Jim Farmer and Hamish Ross, both lawyers who have been directly involved and a part of Team New Zealand America’s Cup efforts since almost the beginning, have spoken out quite eloquently against having such an event in Saudi Arabia and have put their memberships on the line or have resigned.

“It would seem the selection is merely a prelude to a full Cup defense held there, should RNZYS’s defense of the Cup be successful,” wrote Ross. “There is no quantity of silver that can justify the selection of Jeddah and as others in the NZL media have eloquently pointed out, there is now much hypocrisy behind the much-touted “green” America’s Cup and its advancement of women in the sport, with this selection.”

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli
The Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli team impressed and also created the “highlight” of the weekend.
© 2023 Studio Borlenghi

Others who have spoken out forcefully or who have taken a stand include Ukrainian Chess Grandmaster Anna Muzychuck in 2017, as she boycotted and put her title on the line for an event that was held in Saudi Arabia, stating at the time that she, “was not to play by someone’s rules, not to wear abaya, not to be accompanied getting outside, and altogether not to feel myself a secondary creature.”

Saudi and America’s Cup officials would point out, though, that changes have been made, and that the outside world should respect the sovereignty of their country and kingdom.

“Things have changed significantly in a short few years, more than most people realize. The country is really opening up to itself and to the rest of the world,” said Samia Bagdady, CEO of Saudi Sailing Federation. “Saudi is a new home to all, simply because the people are no different [from] anyone else. They want to live happy, healthy, active lives. It’s what the people want and what the government is supporting.”

“This is the first international sailing regatta on the Red Sea. Not only that, but it’s the pinnacle of the sport, the America’s Cup. We’re trailblazing in a region that’s the future of the sport, and I take immense pride in being a part of that,” said Dalton. “We will work side by side to achieve the objectives of the Ministry of Sports, increase participation, and elevate the standards of sailing within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

America's Cup Saudi Arabia
America’s Cup Event and ETNZ CEO Grant Dalton with a Saudi official, possibly pointing to the future?
© 2023 Ian Roman/37th America’s Cup

“The America’s Cup Preliminary Regatta in Jeddah will help us accelerate the growth of watersports in Saudi Arabia,” said Bagdady. “We want more people to experience sailing, kite surfing, wing foiling and other watersports and we want young people to aspire to compete for Saudi Arabia in the Olympics and Paralympic Games. The pioneering spirit of both America’s Cup and NEOM will help us demonstrate that sailing is relevant to young people who are driven by sport, healthy lifestyles and technical innovation.”

“We hope that our team’s participation can contribute to the development [and] promotion of sailing in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” said Hutchinson, “It’s impressive to witness the progress and the inspiring youth program they have in place, and their dedication to promoting the sport of sailing. Their approach aligns with our mission at American Magic. It’s exciting to envision the potential impact of this youth program in this spectacular sailing venue.”

The Saudis have made strides toward modernizing their society, and slowly allowing women more freedom is a positive step toward that future. We should respect their country and its religious beliefs and customs, but my opinion is that racing for the America’s Cup in the Red Sea shouldn’t be part of it.

I have personally weighed whether it was “worth it” or not to be lulled into the “fold,” like others in my profession, but it goes against everything I have ever believed in as a writer, journalist and as an American, even as we navigate our own country’s path forward and the significant challenges ahead.